News In Brief

Republican Dick Cheney and Democrat Joseph Lieberman were tuning up for the only vice presidential debate of the campaign, two days after an estimated 46.5 million people watched George W. Bush and Al Gore in their first of three meetings. Analysts expected the running mates, who were to meet at Centre College in Danville, Ky., to focus on issues, although Lieberman was criticizing Bush and Cheney for questioning Gore's character. Poll numbers, meanwhile, showed growing support for Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who was not allowed to participate in this week's debate. (Related editorial, page 11.)

The Federal Communications Commission suspended rules for the duration of the campaign that require broadcasters to make available air time for candidates to respond to opponents' attacks or endorsements. TV and radio groups have called for a repeal of the regulation, arguing the proliferation of media outlets makes it unnecessary. The commission said it would use the next month to observe changes in stations' editorial policy. Public interest advocates argued the move will lead to biased political coverage.

Opening arguments in a lawsuit brought by 11 Puerto Ricans seeking the right to vote in next month's election were scheduled to be heard by a federal appeals court today in Boston, after the Justice Department appealed a judge's August ruling that they should be eligible. The Constitution, government attorneys argue, does not permit citizens living in US territories to pick electors for the Electoral College, even though they may vote in presidential primaries. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, Puerto Rico could have eight electoral votes in the Nov. 7 election, Gov. Pedro Rossello said.

The Clinton administration is negotiating an arms-control agreement with China, in an effort to staunch the latter's practice of exporting missile technology to other nations, some of which are hostile to the US, officials said. The Beijing government has shown a willingness to adopt its own laws limiting missile export, they said, and could sign such an accord in the last months of President Clinton's term. Critics argue that China would not voluntarily abide by such a deal.

California leads the US as a destination for immigrants, with one-quarter of its population coming from foreign nations, the Census Bureau reported in its latest gauge of changing demographics. Nationwide, 10 percent of the population was foreign-born in 1997, the highest since the 1930s, when millions of Italians, Germans, and Poles migrated to the Northeast. More recent immigrants, the study said, came to the US mostly from Mexico, the Philippines, and China.

Sotheby's former chief executive, Diana Brooks, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix fees with rival auction house Christie's, The New York Times reported. The plea follows a three-year investigation into the multimillion-dollar auction business. Brooks faces a three-year federal prison term and a heavy fine. Her ex-employer, meanwhile, must pay a $45 million antitrust penalty, in addition to $256 million that it and Christie's each must reimburse to victimized buyers and sellers.

The Library of Congress received a $60 million donation from billionaire John Kluge, the single largest gift in its 200-year history. The money will go to establish a center for scholars and a $1 million annual prize for lifetime achievement in scholarly endeavors. The telecommunications mogul hopes the new center would help to repair relations between academics and politicians.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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